ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona hiker missing in Utah flooding as monsoon hits US Southwest

Aug 21, 2022, 4:00 PM
(Facebook Photo/Zion National Park)...
(Facebook Photo/Zion National Park)
(Facebook Photo/Zion National Park)

SPRINGDALE, Utah (AP) — Authorities have been searching for days for an Arizona woman reported missing after being swept away by floodwaters in Utah’s Zion National Park as strong seasonal rain storms hit parts of the U.S. Southwest.

National Park Service officials said rangers and members of the Zion Search and Rescue Team were in the Virgin River area Sunday looking for Jetal Agnihotri, 29, of Tucson.

They said Agnihotri was among several hikers who were swept off their feet Friday afternoon by rushing water in the popular Narrows area in the park, known for its spectacular red-rock cliffs and narrow canyons, in southern Utah near the Arizona border.

All of the hikers except Agnihotri were found on high ground and were stranded until water levels receded.

Rain can turn hiking in the park deadly when the moisture runs off the desert landscape and quickly fills canyons with water, rocks and debris, especially during the summer when seasonal afternoon thunderstorms develop. The storms can lead to flooding in normally dry washes and in areas stripped of vegetation by wildfires that have plagued the drought-stricken region. Vegetation normally slows and partially absorbs precipitation.

On Sunday, an approximately 20-mile (32-kilometer) stretch of Colorado’s main east-west highway, Interstate 70, was temporarily closed because of the risk of flooding and mudslides from forecasted storms in Glenwood Canyon, where a wildfire burned in 2020.

Elsewhere in Utah, flooding in Moab, the gateway to Arches National Park, on Saturday night closed trails in the city on Sunday as crews assessed the damage. A video posted on the city’s Twitter account showed a creek gushing under a downtown bridge.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, officials at Carlsbad Caverns National Park said about 150 tourists were evacuated late Saturday night after being stranded by rising water.

Park officials told people at the visitor’s center to wait there for hours because of flash flooding.

Authorities said several rivers and streams in New Mexico have nearly reached historic flood levels not seen since the 1960s due to recent heavy rainfall.

In Arizona, emergency crews rescued four hikers stranded in Sabino Canyon east of Tucson on Friday and helped 41 students and staff from Marana off school buses that got stuck in high water when the storms began to move in.

More than 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) of rain fell Saturday in the mountains northeast of Tucson, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain comes amid a drought that scientists say is the worst in the U.S. West in 1,200 years and aggravated by climate change. Colorado River reservoirs have fallen to historic lows as a result. Earlier this week, states that rely on the river missed a deadline for deciding how to cut the amount of water they use from the river.

For Nevada, recent storms have given the Las Vegas metro area its wettest monsoon season in 10 years.

“Most locales in Arizona, New Mexico, the California deserts, southern Nevada, and a few other scattered areas have measured at least 200 percent of normal (rainfall) over the past 2 months,” the U.S. Drought Monitor said in a report issued on Aug. 11.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Dianne Gabriel Cola (Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for 80-year-old woman with dementia last seen in Peoria

A Silver Alert was issued Tuesday for an 80-year-old woman diagnosed with dementia from Peoria.
14 hours ago
(Photos via Fontana Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Amber Alert suspect killed in California may have been Arizona-bound

A California murder suspect might have been heading to Arizona with his abducted daughter before deputies killed him Tuesday, authorities said.
14 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Pinal County Sheriff’s Office)...
Associated Press

Woman, 6-year-old boy found dead in San Tan Valley home

A woman and young boy have been found dead in a San Tan Valley home, Pinal County Sheriff’s officials said.
14 hours ago
Arizona gubernatorial candidates, from left, Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake. (Getty Images Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake set to participate in town hall event next week

Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake won’t be debating anytime soon, but Arizona’s gubernatorial candidates are both scheduled to participate in a forum next week in Phoenix.
14 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Peixoto Coffee)...
KTAR.com

Chandler-based Peixoto Coffee expands to new mixed-use development in Gilbert

Family-owned Peixoto Coffee opened Tuesday morning in Gilbert’s Epicenter at Agritopia near Ray and Higley roads.
14 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Arizona hiker missing in Utah flooding as monsoon hits US Southwest